Riyadh – Mubasher: Saudi Arabia’s General Entertainment Authority (GEA) has uncovered a host of entertainment options that will be launched in the kingdom in the coming period. These options come as part of the Saudi government’s plan to diversify its economic resources away from oil and in line with the Saudi Vision 2030.
During an event hosted by GEA, the authority’s newly-appointed chairman Turki Al-Sheikh signed deals, unveiling the kingdom’s upcoming expansions in the sector, which will include concerts, shows, racing and sports events, as well as religious contests.
Among the signed deals was an agreement with an international entertainment firm to establish 18 recreational tents along with live shows in cafes and restaurants.
GEA will begin issuing licences for these live shows featuring music, singing, and stand-up comedy shows soon, it tweeted, noting that among the stand-up comedians who would be coming to the kingdom are global celebrities Dave Chappelle and Chris Rock.
On the same line, the authority said it would launch several floating restaurants, which will be built on the Kingdom’s Western and Eastern coasts.
The GEA also unveiled plans to host the “Thriller Live” show for the late Michael Jackson as well as concerts for Arab singers Talal Maddah and Abu Bakr Salem using the Holography technique, which records the light scattered from objects, and presents it in a way that appears three-dimensional (3D). A commonly used technique in science fiction and adventure movies, holography was notably used in Star Wars and Iron Man.
In addition, the kingdom said it would launch a major competition for playing the Oud, which it expects would receive many participants from the Arab world, adding that its prize will be named “Abadi Aljohar”, after a famous Saudi singer.
In the same vein, GEA uncovered a plan to build a Madame Tussauds Museum featuring waxworks for the world’s top celebrities.
GEA also tweeted that it would launch a competitions programme called Takeshi's Castle in 2019. It did not give further details about this programme but said it would start from Riyadh.
Moving on to more fun stuff, the GEA unveiled “The Color Run,” a carnival of colours, where goers can enjoy paintball fights and a host of other activities.
The Saudi entertainment authority did not forget thrill-seekers or those who enjoy an adrenaline rush, saying that it would create racetracks and large spaces for people to test their utmost driving skills by drifting. These tracks will be launched in various regions in the kingdom, GEA tweeted.
As for more physical sports, the authority said it would organise basketball tournaments for the US National Basketball Association (NBA) during 2019, added to several friendly football matches, featuring famous players such as Zenedine Zidane and David Beckham.
It is worth noting that GEA did not mention the timeframe it would take to launch these projects and entertainment options, but it is clear that it has been focusing on the sector lately. An example of that is the recent appointment of Turki Al Sheikh as chairman along with a host of announcements for opening cinema venues for the first time in the kingdom.
The drive to support the previously non-existing entertainment sector commenced in September 2017, when the state-owned Public Investment Fund (PIF) said it would establish a subsidiary specialised in the recreation sector with a capital of SAR 10 billion.
Later in February 2018, the kingdom uncovered a decade-long investment of SAR 240 billion in its high and rising recreation and entertainment sector. A couple of months later, the government said it would establish 200 to 300 movie theatres by 2030.
In April 2018, UAE-based Majid Al Futtaim Group stated that it would open a new four-screen multiplex cinema in Saudi Arabia.
Shortly after, Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz launched construction works for the kingdom’s entertainment city Qiddiya, located southwest of Riyadh.